Meetings for Team Development

 In Meeting

Meetings for Team Development

This is the most important thing that a manager can do to improve team meetings. It is surprising to see how many managers love meetings. However, to get significant results, solve problems and make decisions, inform people, inspire, collaborate, motivate, and inspire others, managers must work with them.

This means getting people together, either in person or via conference calls, and having a conversation. Management is not about sending emails and sitting in an office. Consider meetings as a form of leadership. This is not something you should fear like a trip the dentist.

Meetings are essential to achieving team goals and completing tasks successfully. They also reflect the overall team’s functioning. Team meetings can be conducted in real time or asynchronously, in person or via a remote conference. They are essential tools for team productivity and managing tasks. Team meetings are a great way to have open conversations that draw on each member’s knowledge, skills and perspectives in order to solve problems and support one another towards achieving the collective goals of the group.

For productive outcomes, it is important to pay attention to meeting preparation, facilitation and participation. Before the meeting, it is important to organise details such as the location and date, time, space setup, and tech support.

Notice in advance

Are all attendees given sufficient notice? Have the coordinates of your meeting space been provided? Let people know if there will be food or beverages served if the meeting is held during a meal.

istockphoto xMeeting space

Is the meeting space conducive to the facilitator/meeting chair and participants being able to effectively communicate with each other?

Technical issues

It is highly recommended that you replicate the team environment by calling in remote locations and running computer-based applications in a practice format before the actual meeting.

An agenda is helpful in avoiding confusion about who is speaking, gives reasons to attend the meeting, either on topics of interest to members or if they see that they have been assigned to speak, and provides structure so that the meeting is well-used.

An agenda should contain a brief description of the meeting goals/objectives and a list of topics to be covered. Each topic should contain a brief description, the person who will be addressing it, and the time that is expected to be discussed. The agenda should be sent to all participants prior to the meeting. They can provide feedback, add items to the agenda, and prepare for the meeting.

Always prepare an agenda

Effective workplace meetings include advice on how to prepare an agenda. We’ve all been to meetings without an agenda. Planning the agenda can help you focus on the most important topics and make the meeting more productive.

Get input on the Agenda

The agenda is the primary responsibility of the manager, but team members can also be invited to add to it. A call for ideas can be sent out a few days prior to the meeting.

To collaborate, use team meetings

Instead of sharing information, solve a problem with the group or work together to reach a decision. It’s not easy and it can be messy but this is where we get the most benefit from meetings.

Summarise your decisions and assign actions items

Make it clear to the members of the meeting who will be responsible for completing the task once an agenda item has been resolved or agreed upon. These actions can be summarised and documented in the meeting minutes to reduce confusion and misunderstandings.

Notify the meeting minutes promptly

Minutes are a record of the meetings decisions and actions. The minutes are visible tools for monitoring and measuring the completion of tasks by individuals. They are a reminder to all that tasks have been completed by those who were given responsibilities.

Plan for improvement and evaluate your situation.

It is a good idea to wrap up the meeting with a review of the process and the progress. Then, use the information to plan for the next meeting. Monitoring at the task level can make a significant difference in the way the task is managed. Although it is more involved than task-level monitoring, team-level evaluation can help to identify issues and open up productive lines for discussions. It can also lead to improvements in team processes. To facilitate this last step, the team meeting record template includes wrap-up questions.

Assign administrative positions

Clarity in the roles of team members leads to greater team effectiveness and cohesion. It gives meetings structure and allows them to finish on their own time. This also makes it possible for people to spend more time together. Pre-assign each of these important roles or find volunteers on a rotating basis:

  • Timekeeper: Helps team leaders or facilitators manage time. You can verbally remind the team leader or facilitator of the current time and any remaining time. You can give “5-minute warning” cards to the timekeeper and have them held up at the appropriate times for each topic.
  • Recorder: Captures, transcribes, in real-time, key decisions, action plans and a summary of a meeting. In situations of critical importance, specific minutes may be required. The style of minutes will vary depending on the situation. If this is not the case then minutes will be a list of decisions taken and actions items that are to be followed-up with the responsible person for each item. Minutes should be kept as brief as possible and all important information should be recorded. This makes it easy to take notes and make them easier to review. It is possible to organise minutes for team meetings and make it easier to read them.
  • Facilitator: Uses asking questions instead of telling, listens attentively and builds consensus among participants. This is a collaborative leadership style that leaders and members of the team can exhibit. Facilitators should facilitate effective participation. They should avoid allowing too much or too little input from individuals and ensure that the discussion flows in the direction of the group’s goals. The facilitator summarises the discussion and makes recommendations for the next agenda item. Don’t end any discussion without taking action

Last Thoughts

Team meetings have the overarching goal of improving the collaboration between team members. You can do this by creating a supportive environment, connecting people who don’t see each other often, and aligning your efforts towards the same goal.

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